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Thread: Coach?

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    TE HQ, Hillsboro, OR
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    This is my third season with a coach, and my third coach!

    In 2010, I wanted to train up for a half ironman. So I hired a coach. I wanted someone to tell me what to do and when to do it. Sure, I could build a plan for myself (I did it successfully in 2009) but I'm busy and I don't mind paying a professional for the service.

    But my 2010 experience was not great. This person did not check in with me often enough, ask how I was feeling, etc. Mostly, she just built me a plan, but there was not much of a feedback loop. I also ended up with an injury (posterior tibial tendinitis) because this coach did not respect the fact that I was doing randonneuring in addition to training for tris. her plans did not give me adequate recovery from those rides, and I was too stupid to listen to my body more closely. Doing a 15 mile run 3 days after finishing a 600K ride (in 37 hours) was not a smart idea. She should have given me a recovery week schedule, and when she didn't, I should have spoken up. Live and learn. (BTW, she was all the way across the country and we mostly communicated via email. Rarely spoke. Cost me $185 per month.)

    In 2011, I decided I wanted to ride Paris-Brest-Paris, so I hired a cycling coach to focus on that. My mistake in this year was that I hired someone who was more focused on racers than endurance riders. In retrospect, he just didn't understand enough about the differences, and half the time I felt like I was educating *him*. Still, I got through the event, though I'm pretty sure I could have done it without his coaching. This guy was local, but we still didn't see/speak all that often. Cost me $250 per month. Way too expensive for what I got. Again, live and learn.

    So, here I am in 2012, and I'm doing Ironman Canada. This time, I spent a lot of time interviewing and talking to coaches, both local and not. I ended up with a local female coach. So far, she is far and away the best coach I've had. We speak EVERY monday night at 8pm.

    ++ She holds me very accountable. I upload ALL my Garmin files (swim, bike & run) and she spends time analyzing them.
    ++We refine my workouts based on how I've performed, and how I'm feeling about the workouts, my confidence levels, etc.
    ++She writes race plans for all my events, with target heartrates, etc.
    ++We discuss nutrition (both training and race day) and she insists that I use "race day nutrition" in my key training sessions (nothing new on race day!).
    ++I went into this season with an IT band injury (likely a combination of overuse from PBP and an unfortunately timed cleat-position change) and she recommended a local ART professional, who I've now been working with since January. He's great, and they have permission to talk to one another about my therapy and training regimen.
    ++She's really helped me get over my open water swim issues. She does weekend all-comer open water swim practices for an athletic club that she also works at, and her coaching clients are welcome to come. I went out for a few, but was still struggling, so she met me at the lake at 7am on a workday for a private swim session, one-on-one. No extra charge. Just she and I swimming and working through my issues, without the pressure of other people around.
    ++She encourages me to write race reports soon after each event, so that we can talk about what went well, what didn't, whether or not I stuck to plan, and what still needs work.
    ++We work on the "head game" aspects as well. I have a tendency to say that I'm just a cyclist pretending to be a triathlete. It's kind of a joke, but kind of not, too. Know what I mean? I'm just not a natural at swimming or running. They rarely come easy to me. So, whenever I say "I'm not a runner", she calls me to task on it, and encourages me to think more positively about my growth as an athlete and the progress I've made year to date.
    ++ She costs me $200 per month, which I think is very reasonable for the level of service I'm getting.

    OK, so she's not perfect either. There are some weaknesses there too. Mostly, those are what I perceive as her having a hard time understanding what it is to just be a marginal athlete. She's pretty talented (her IM PR is something like 10:50 and she's qualified for Kona) and so sometimes the things she tells me to do as a strategy aren't realistic. For example, I do a lot of my runs by heart rate. When I go up hill, sometimes my HR goes above my hill-running target HR, so her answer is that I should run more slowly up the hills. To which I say, yeah, but when your long run pace is 11:30 per mile on a flat and level ground, going slower means WALKING the hill. There is no running at that pace. Yet, she's been very resistant to training me for IM with a run/walk strategy. I brought it up twice this season, and the basic response was "No one has ever asked me to train them to walk the marathon". Of course, that's not what I'm asking! But it feels like there's a touch of, I don't know, 'disdain' for the strategy. But I'm simply trying to be realistic. I am NOT CAPABLE of running the entire marathon at IM. This isn't me doubting my training plan. This is me being realistic. It's just not going to happen at my level of ability. So rather than throw me into the event without a strategy, I would rather have a detailed run walk strategy that will carry me through with confidence.

    Sooooooo, this weekend, after a 129 mile bike run on Saturday at IM watts, and a 50 mile bike ride on Sunday at HIM watts, I had a 2 hr brick run on my calendar immediately following the 50 mile ride. I *knew* there was no way in hell that my tired legs were going to run for 2 hours at the HR target she set for me. Just impossible. So, I decided to do a run walk. For two hours, I ran 4, walked 1, and it was frickin' amazing. Best brick run I've EVER done, and totally sustainable. I ran 11.2 miles at an average pace of 10:45, which hell, is good for me on just a run-only day, much less after 180 miles.

    I uploaded that file to my training log, and she was pretty impressed looking at the mile splits. Then I dropped the news that I had accomplished that by walking 20% of the time. And, that I had decided that that WOULD BE my strategy for 70.3 next weekend (Lake Stevens, WA on the 15th) and for IM Canada.

    What I'm getting at with this overly long winded explanation is that basically, I took control of this aspect of my training. I've tried it her way for 6 months, but it just wasn't working for me (my brick run were always crummy). So, I think that it's OK for an athlete to be insistent on certain points at a certain point. I mean, yes, I'm paying her for her expertise, but in the end, I, as the athlete, am the only one who really truly understands my own body and how it's adapting. So, maybe the third time is a charm, but I think that this experience has taught me that it's OK for this to be a two way street, a partnership of sorts. Yes, I pay her to train me, but I also have a responsibility to myself (and to her) to push back on certain aspects that I don't feel are working well.

    For 2013, I'm entertaining the idea of doing London-Edinburgh-London, a 1400km randonneuring event. After Canada, I have to decide what to do about the coaching situation. I think I can build a training plan for myself for such an event, but I may still want to swim & run as cross training. (And, I'm signed up for Lavaman in Hawaii in March, so I need to stay in shape for that over the winter.) So, whether or not I continue to be coached for that in 2013 is something I haven't decided upon yet.
    Susan Otcenas
    TeamEstrogen.com
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  2. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Wow! I appreciate all the feedback. It's given me some points to ponder for sure.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    TE HQ, Hillsboro, OR
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    I didn't really stress this in my last post, but to me the accountability factor is really important. Even if I had the time and inclination to build my own plan (which I don't at the moment) I"m not very good at being accountable to myself. Having a coach means that if I skip a workout, I have some explaining to do. I hate making excuses for things, so instead, I just buckle down and do the workouts, knowing that I'll be asked why I didn't do a workout as written. Of course, I'll skip if my body tells me it really needs a break, but mostly, the accountability factor means that I don't skip just out of laziness.

    Ironically, I'm skipping today. I've had a very hard couple of days, capped off by racing a half marathon yesterday (and "recovering" from the race with a 2 hour bike ride!) so I'm giving myself permission to skip the easy swim that's on the calendar. I only skip a workout once a month or so, so this is OK. No guilty conscience here! I'll use the extra time to catch up on some things I've been totally neglecting in my personal life (personal life? what personal life?!) and maybe catch up on some sleep.
    Susan Otcenas
    TeamEstrogen.com
    See our newest cycling jerseys
    1-877-310-4592

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Thom's favorite saying is, "No one believes your excuses but you."

    And I structure my life around getting enough sleep. Seriously, and I did not get enough last night. Why do the neighbors need to have their own fireworks?

    Luckily, Cassie Cat did not mind sharing the bed, so I took a nap after I ran this morning. But sleeping during the day leaves me "fuzzy."

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
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    Susan has hit on all the issues that I have been trying to articulate.

    She also has made me realize that maybe I charge way too little for my services.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  6. #21
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    Oct 2002
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    So you're cheap! Great!



    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  7. #22
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    Oct 2002
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    TE HQ, Hillsboro, OR
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica View Post
    So you're cheap! Great!
    Inexpensive, perhaps. But there's nothing cheap about Cassie, I suspect.
    Susan Otcenas
    TeamEstrogen.com
    See our newest cycling jerseys
    1-877-310-4592

  8. #23
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    Oct 2002
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    That's true. She's the real deal.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    24
    This has been an interesting discussion. Thank you to all participants. I have two questions, though. How does a coach differ from a trainer, and how does one find a coach? Thank you.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Columbia River Gorge
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    Quote Originally Posted by susan otcenas View Post
    inexpensive, perhaps. But there's nothing cheap about cassie, i suspect.
    :d:d:d
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Olney, MD
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaTadams View Post
    This has been an interesting discussion. Thank you to all participants. I have two questions, though. How does a coach differ from a trainer, and how does one find a coach? Thank you.
    It may be mostly semantics, but I think a trainer is a person who is out there with you, standing over you, and shouting "give me 100 more!", etc.
    I'd rather be swimming...biking...running...and eating cheesecake...
    --===--

    2008 Cervelo P2C Tri bike
    2011 Trek Madone 5.5/Cobb V-Flow Max
    2007 Jamis Coda/Terry Liberator
    2011 Trek Mamba 29er

  12. #27
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    Oct 2002
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    My trainer only works with me on developing strength and power. We do weights and plyometrics and yeah, she's right there.

    I think a coach is more about developing a long term training plan. Although my trainer does know when my events are and adjusts what we do at each session accordingly.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  13. #28
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryland
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    348
    Quote Originally Posted by MaTadams View Post
    This has been an interesting discussion. Thank you to all participants. I have two questions, though. How does a coach differ from a trainer, and how does one find a coach? Thank you.
    Coaches are only sold at the best of stores.

    Seriously, I totally thought this was a purse thread. You can tell how far I am from the athlete stage. lol
    2013: Riding a Dolce sport compact for fun and a vintage Jetter with cargo rack for commuting

    www.bike-sby.org: A network of concerned cyclists working to make our city more bicycle friendly.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaTadams View Post
    This has been an interesting discussion. Thank you to all participants. I have two questions, though. How does a coach differ from a trainer, and how does one find a coach? Thank you.
    Well, recommendations from current clients is a great place to start. If you like what any of us have said about our coaches, why not ask for contact info and start there?
    I'd rather be swimming...biking...running...and eating cheesecake...
    --===--

    2008 Cervelo P2C Tri bike
    2011 Trek Madone 5.5/Cobb V-Flow Max
    2007 Jamis Coda/Terry Liberator
    2011 Trek Mamba 29er

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Red Stick, La
    Posts
    52
    this has indeed been a really good discussion. I'm contemplating getting a coach as well, mainly for training plan purposes so I don't injure myself and/or for the ability to have more balanced workouts. This year for me has been the year of the Duathlon so biking/running hasn't been an issue, but I'm about to start training for a Half-Marathon and I don't want to give up biking or my crossfit-ish gym time so I'm going to have to find some balance in my workout schedule. Next year will be even tougher because I'll be adding swimming into the mix.

    So you folks who have good coaches or are a coach, I'd like contact info. Feel free to PM me.
    Get busy living or get busy dying..


    2010 Cervelo P2-Cobb Flow Max Plus

 

 

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